How to decorate a wedding dress

Written by danita fausek
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How to decorate a wedding dress
Beads, crystals and lace all add elegance to a wedding dress (wedding dress gown flower bouquet pink red image by Paul Retherford from

The wedding dress is one of the most important purchases you will make for your wedding. Hours of looking and trying on different styles goes into finding that perfect dress. It must fit well, look beautiful and be priced within budget.

Embellishments on a wedding dress can add a significant amount of money to the final price. These same embellishments can be done at home, allowing a bride to purchase a simple dress that fits her well, and then later add the sparkle and glamour to the dress. Beads, crystals and lace can all be used to decorate the dress and provide the elegant look that brides crave. Adding your own embellishments also make your dress unique.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Lace
  • Beads
  • Crystals
  • Thread to match the dress material
  • Needle
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Choose your design. Once the wedding dress is purchased, the embellishment design needs to be planned. Whether you are using lace or just beads and crystals, creating the design in advance not only gives you an idea of what needs to be accomplished, but allows you to change the design without ruining the dress fabric.

    Pick out lace that has a pleasing pattern and will be easy to embellish. Most lace is created on a mesh background that can either be left on or trimmed off. Use the seams in the dress as a starting point from which to work, as these emphasise the style of the dress. You want your embellishments to work with the dress, not against it.

    Purchase your beads and crystals to enhance the lace pattern. For example, beads can be sewn surrounding petals, while crystals can highlight scroll work or the centre of flowers. Choose beads and crystals that blend into the lace you have chosen and not detract from it. A cream-coloured dress with cream lace should also have cream-coloured pearl beading and crystals, not bright white beads or clear crystals.

  2. 2

    Attach the lace to the dress according to the design you have chosen. Place the lace on the material and gently stitch the edges down. Tie a knot on the end of your thread and bring the needle up through the material from underneath so it appears at the very outer edge of the piece of lace.

    Push the needle back through the lace and the material on the inside of the border of the lace, and then pull the thread through. Continue sewing in this manner until the lace is attached to the dress.

  3. 3

    Add beads and crystals to the lace pattern. Keep the material taut. Tie a knot in the end of the thread and bring the needle through the material and lace from the underside in the place you wish to add a bead or crystal. Place your bead or crystal on the needle, gently pushing it over the thread until it nestles against the lace. Push the needle back through at a point immediately next to the point you came up.

  4. 4

    Secure the bead to the dress by bringing the needle through the same bead two more times to secure it. Tie a slip knot on the underside of the material. Continue attaching beads and crystals until you have completed your embellishments.

Tips and warnings

  • Leave space under each arm free of embellishments to avoid uncomfortable chaffing.
  • Make sure you purchase more than enough beads to finish the entire pattern design.
  • Ensure your embellishments are colour-fast before adding any to the wedding dress. Take a small piece of lace and a sample of the beads and crystals, and then add them to soapy water to check the result.
  • Do not use fabric adhesive to help secure lace to the dress as it may stain the material.

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